Pick­ing up the pace to re­cov­ery

The Independent on Saturday - - LIFESTYLE -

HEART at­tack sur­vivors who step up their ex­er­cise ef­forts may live longer than those who re­main in­ac­tive, a Swedish study has sug­gested.

Com­pared with pa­tients who were in­ac­tive for the first 10 to 12 months af­ter their heart at­tack, pa­tients who were ac­tive dur­ing that time were 71% less likely to die dur­ing the four-year study, re­searchers re­ported in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion.

Peo­ple who were in­ac­tive at first but who in­creased their ac­tiv­ity lev­els over time were 59% less likely to die, and even peo­ple who re­duced their ac­tiv­ity lev­els but still got at least a lit­tle ex­er­cise were 44% less likely to die.

Over­all, the study in­volved

22 227 pa­tients who were sur­veyed twice about their ac­tiv­ity lev­els. Af­ter an av­er­age fol­low-up of about four years, 1 087 peo­ple died.

Phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity has long been linked to a lower risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and pre­ma­ture death af­ter events like a heart at­tack or stroke.

The cur­rent study, how­ever, of­fers fresh ev­i­dence of the po­ten­tial to im­prove sur­vival odds by ex­er­cis­ing af­ter a heart at­tack, or by try­ing to keep up with some work­outs even if a pre­vi­ous level of ex­er­cise is not pos­si­ble.

“If you have not been ac­tive (be­fore your heart at­tack), don’t worry, start now, it will im­prove your health and prog­no­sis,” lead study au­thor Or­jan Ek­blom, of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sci­ences in Stock­holm, said. “If you have been ac­tive… great, but keep it up.

“For in­di­vid­u­als who can­not ex­er­cise it is im­por­tant to un­der­line that ex­er­cise is only a lim­ited part of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity,” Ek­blom ad­vised.

Mov­ing more around the home, or tak­ing slow walks, can help, along with things like re­duc­ing stress and avoid­ing al­co­hol and to­bacco. |

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